Why does Obama woo Iran? 2

What will the $400 million in cash, paid illegally by Obama to ransom American hostages held by Iran, be used for and by whom?

Dan Calabrese writes at Canada Free Press:

The entity within Iran that will likely use the cash is one Obama would rather you didn’t know about:  There is principally one entity within the Iranian government that has need of untraceable funds. That entity is the Quds Force — the branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps focused particularly on furthering the regime’s goals world-wide by supporting and conducting terrorism.

This is the entity, for example, that was tied to the foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., in 2011, as well as to the successful plot to blow up a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Notably, there is a federal statute that bars the transfer of “monetary instruments” — cash or its equivalent in bearer instruments—with the intent to promote “specified unlawful activity.” That term is defined to include a crime of violence or use of an explosive against a foreign country, a category that would include terrorism.

Proving intent is always difficult, but federal law recognizes that conscious avoidance of knowledge can be enough. So, for example, the person who transfers a firearm to a known bank robber need not be told directly that the weapon will be used in a bank robbery in order to be held responsible when it is—particularly if he took steps to conceal the transfer.

As it happens, though, there is more than one reason why no one in the administration will be prosecuted for consciously avoiding knowledge of how this cash likely will be used, and thereby violating the anti-money-laundering statute — even with proof that the cash was transported in an unmarked plane. For one thing, the law applies only to transfers to or from the territory of the U.S. This transfer occurred entirely abroad.  In addition, there is a legal doctrine that bars the application of criminal statutes to government activity in furtherance of legitimate government business, unless those statutes are clearly meant to apply to such activity. So, for example, the driver of a firetruck cannot be held liable for speeding on his way to a fire.

The cash transfer here was said to have been arranged in furtherance of conducting the foreign relations of the U.S. The conduct of foreign relations is entirely an executive function. Those involved in this transfer would have the benefit of that doctrine.

So delivering a haul of cash to the mad mullahs in an unmarked plane is fine because, while illegal for anyone else to do, it’s just like the fire engine driver speeding to a fire. He has to do it! See how much the one is just like the other? …

No. The fire engine driver is an employee carrying out orders. Obama gives the orders.

The Obama Administration’s entire approach to Iran has been driven by a conceit both Obama and John Kerry share, which is the belief that the U.S. would never have gotten so crosswise with Iran if only truly great, expert diplomats had been on the job. Like, ahem, them. I will never forget Kerry’s haughty declaration about himself during the first debate with President Bush in 2004. Talking about how one deals with foreign leaders, Kerry insisted, “I know how to do this!”

Oh. Does he? All he’s done in dealing with Iran is give them everything they want in exchange for a bad and completely unenforceable deal that everyone can see will turn Iran into a nuclear power.

We’ve had problems with Iran because Iran is a terrorist state that attacks us and our allies, not because our diplomats have been too mean to the mullahs.

And now Obama and Kerry are turning a blind eye to the fact that they just bankrolled more terrorist activity. Because it takes a truly great diplomat, I guess, to understand what a great idea that is.

Yes. It seems to us most probable that Obama was less intent on freeing hostages than on getting cash to Iran. To help Iran! Because sanctions were making it hard for Iran to get hold of foreign currency. Which it needs to fund terrorism abroad.

But is Obama actually keen on getting Islamic terrorism funded? Or is he just endlessly trying to get Iran to love him? And if it is the latter – why?

Are there possible explanations we haven’t thought of?

Posted under Diplomacy, Iran, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Terrorism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 6, 2016

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The political philosophy of the kick-back 1

Hillary Clinton will not release the texts of the speeches she made to Wall Street institutions, for fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars, while she was secretary of state.

However, an article of hers, published on November 1, 2010, in Foreign Affairs, provides a sample of what she had to say at the time.

We quote from Leading Through Civilian Power: Redefining American Diplomacy and Development by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Today’s world is a crucible of challenges …

She is – or her ghost writers are – not good with metaphors. They obviously didn’t think about what a crucible is or how it can contain challenges, or if it could what it might do with them. The style of the whole article is pompous, dull, full of over-used and ill-thought-out phrases – not the writing of a thinker. It is the writing of a deceiver, trying to pull the wool over her reader’s eyes.

But those faults are small compared to the message she is trying to convey and its implications for US policy and action.

 … testing American leadership. Global problems, from violent extremism to worldwide recession to climate change to poverty, demand collective solutions, even as power in the world becomes more diffuse. They require effective international cooperation, even as that becomes harder to achieve. And they cannot be solved unless a nation is willing to accept the responsibility of mobilizing action. The United States is that nation.

Translation: The world must sing in perfect harmony – under the baton of the US administration, specifically Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I began my tenure as U.S. Secretary of State by stressing the need to elevate diplomacy and development alongside defense – a “smart power” approach to solving global problems. To make that approach succeed, however, U.S. civilian power must be strengthened and amplified. It must, as U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has argued in these pages, be brought into better balance with U.S. military power. In a speech last August, Gates said, “There has to be a change in attitude in the recognition of the critical role that agencies like [the] State [Department] and AID [the U.S. Agency for International Development] play . . . for them to play the leading role that I think they need to play.”

The State Department (Hillary Rodham Clinton) and USAID must play a leading role. And because President Obama is against a strong military and very much against military intervention in foreign affairs, the military must step aside and let Hillary Rodham Clinton and USAID act for America to deal with violent extremism, as well as recession, climate change, and poverty. And if you think it’s just her saying so, and you still feel the military may be best at dealing with violent extremism abroad, she has some words from the secretary of defense to back her up.

This effort is under way. Congress has already appropriated funds for 1,108 new Foreign Service and Civil Service officers to strengthen the State Department’s capacity to pursue American interests and advance American values. USAID is in the process of doubling its development staff, hiring 1,200 new Foreign Service officers with the specific skills and experience required for evolving development challenges, and is making better use of local hires at our overseas missions, who have deep knowledge of their countries. The Obama administration has begun rebuilding USAID to make it the world’s premier development organization, one that fosters long-term growth and democratic governance, includes its own research arm, shapes policy and innovation, and uses metrics to ensure that our investments are cost-effective and sound.

But we must do more. We must not only rebuild – but also rethink, reform, and recalibrate. During my years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I saw how the Department of Defense used its Quadrennial Defense Review to align its resources, policies, and strategies for the present – and the future. No similar mechanism existed for modernizing the State Department or USAID. In July 2009, I launched the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), a wholesale review of the State Department and USAID to recommend how to better equip, fund, train, and organize ourselves to meet current diplomatic and development priorities and how to begin building the people, structures, processes, and resources today to address the world’s challenges in the years ahead.

The QDDR is not simply a review. It defines how to make diplomacy and development coordinated, complementary, and mutually reinforcing. It assesses what has worked in the past and what has not. And it forecasts future strategic choices and resource needs.

Although the State Department and USAID have distinct roles and missions, diplomacy and development often overlap and must work in tandem. Increasingly, global challenges call for a mix of both, requiring a more holistic approach to civilian power. …

Now recall, as an example of her “diplomacy and development overlap”, what she did in Haiti as explained in the film Hillary’s America posted immediately below. The cell-phone racket she worked in Haiti has been exposed as one where the Clinton Foundation was the link between “civilian” interests and state-provided “development aid”. The provider of the cell-phones was a crony of the Clintons. One can see how this “diplomacy and civilian development” linkage is community organizing for power and perks globally. It is an enormous over-reach of government function for the benefit of officials. It is the linking together of two activities that should be kept apart. The diplomacy is the activity of the US government, with control of tax-payers’ money; the “civilian development” is private commercial activity. If the private commerce is assisted by an “investment” of US tax-payers’ funds, for the enrichment of the CEOs of the companies involved and of the broker – who is also the secretary of state – there is a clear case of corruption. A clear case of theft from the tax-payers. “Diplomacy and development” is, in this context, a kind of oxymoron. And it encapsulates the self-contradiction of the Left: claim to be doing good using your office to dispense state aid – but profit personally from it.

Diplomacy has long been the backbone of U.S. foreign policy. It remains so today. The vast majority of my work at the State Department consists of engaging in diplomacy to address major global and regional challenges, such as confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, facilitating negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, enhancing stability on the Korean Peninsula, and working with other governments to bring emergency relief to Haiti. And President Barack Obama and I certainly relied on old-fashioned diplomatic elbow grease to hammer out a last-minute accord at the Copenhagen conference on climate change last December.

In annual strategic dialogues with a range of key partners – including China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, and South Africa – the United States aims to deepen and broaden its relationships and to establish a stronger foundation for addressing shared problems, advancing shared interests, and managing differences. The United States is investing in strengthening global structures such as the G-20 and regional institutions such as the Organization of American States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. This is part of a commitment to building a new global architecture of cooperation that includes not only the East and the West but also the North and the South.

To call Hillary Rodham Clinton ambitious is to understate the reach of her desires and designs. Ambition aims for the high, the distant, but the attainable. It is her ambition to become president of the United States; and – appallingly – that is a possibility. But to desire to rule the world? That is the urge of a fevered brain.

Although traditional diplomacy will always be critical to advancing the United States’ agenda, it is not enough. The State Department must expand its engagement to reach and influence wider and more diverse groups using new skills, strategies, and tools. To that end, the department is broadening the way it conceives of diplomacy as well as the roles and responsibilities of its practitioners.

Of its chief practitioner she means. Herself.

The original Foreign Service, as its name implies, consisted of people trained to manage U.S. relations with foreign states, principally through consultations with their counterparts in government. This has been the main function of U.S. ambassadors and embassies, as well as the staff at the State Department. But increasing global interconnectedness now necessitates reaching beyond governments to citizens directly …

By “citizens” she means her brother and her friends in manufacturing and mining businesses. Grateful tycoons who repay her patronage with donations to the Clinton Global Initiative. In other words, kick-backs. 

The wool-pulling continues. Now you see the cronies, now you don’t, as the noble ends are spread before you. Don’t look at the provenance of the cell-phones; look at how this state-citizen partnership will improve the world economy, cool the earth and make the seas recede, stop drug trafficking, cure disease, reduce crime, and feed the hungry:

… and broadening the U.S. foreign policy portfolio to include issues once confined to the domestic sphere, such as economic and environmental regulation, drugs and disease, organized crime, and world hunger. As those issues spill across borders, the domestic agencies addressing them must now do more of their work overseas, operating out of embassies and consulates. A U.S. ambassador in 2010 is thus responsible not only for managing civilians from the State Department and USAID but also for operating as the CEO of a multiagency mission. And he or she must also be adept at connecting with audiences outside of government, such as the private sector and civil society. …

Consider the U.S. embassy in Islamabad.

Yes. Consider it in the light of the film.

The mission includes 800 staff members; about 450 are diplomats and civil servants from the State Department, and 100 are from USAID. A large portion of the work there consists of traditional diplomacy – Foreign Service officers helping Americans traveling or doing business in the region, issuing visas, and engaging with their Pakistani civilian and military counterparts. But the U.S. ambassador there also leads civilians from 11 other federal agencies, including disaster relief and reconstruction experts helping to rebuild after last summer’s historic floods; specialists in health, energy, communications, finance, agriculture, and justice; and military personnel working with the Pakistani military to bolster Pakistani capacities and to help in the fight against violent extremists.

We do not know if any of her friends and relations made money out of last summer’s floods in Pakistan, but we have ample to reason to suspect that some did. And if so, more tokens of gratitude will have been dropped into the Clinton receptacles.

Back in Washington, my responsibility as secretary is to ensure that the Foreign Service and Civil Service personnel within the State Department and USAID are working together and with their colleagues across the federal government. The United States’ strategic dialogue with Pakistan involves ten separate working groups that bring together cabinet secretaries and experts from a range of agencies in both governments. The U.S. dialogue with India engages 22 different agencies …

See the section on India in the film below. (It starts at 44.33 minutes.) It does not support Hillary Rodham Clinton’s preferred self-image (at the time this article was written) as one who dislikes military strength. It reveals how she helped India become a nuclear power. And how she and Bill Clinton profited by it.

… and when U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and I traveled to Beijing in May for the second round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, our delegation included civilians from over 30 agencies.

Foreign Service officers, Civil Service personnel, and local staff at the State Department and USAID form the backbone of our global engagement. By drawing on the pool of talent that already exists in U.S. federal agencies and at overseas posts, the United States can build a global civilian service of the same caliber and flexibility as the U.S. military.

So you see? She can conquer without firing a shot.

With staff members and experts from a variety of institutions – including the State Department, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Export-Import Bank, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Peace Corps, and many others – the U.S. foreign policy apparatus must reward teamwork, promote collaboration, and support interagency rotations.

She goes on to tell a story  of Hillary the Woman of the People. As if the “civilians” she is concerned with are really the locals in dear little villages.

Engagement must go far beyond government-to-government interactions. In this information age, public opinion takes on added importance even in authoritarian states and as nonstate actors are more able to influence current events. Today, a U.S. ambassador creates ties not only with the host nation’s government but also with its people. The QDDR endorses a new public diplomacy strategy that makes public engagement every diplomat’s duty, through town-hall meetings and interviews with the media, organized outreach, events in provincial towns and smaller communities, student exchange programs, and virtual connections that bring together citizens and civic organizations. Indeed, in the twenty-first century, a diplomat is as likely to meet with a tribal elder in a rural village as a counterpart in a foreign ministry, and is as likely to wear cargo pants as a pinstriped suit. …

But he or she will meet with business people too, of course. And philanthropists. She says as much – and without missing a beat, keeping a straight face as it were, she comes directly to the cell-phones in Haiti:

We can also leverage civilian power by connecting businesses, philanthropists, and citizens’ groups with partner governments to perform tasks that governments alone cannot. Technology, in particular, provides new tools of engagement. One great success this year was a partnership forged almost overnight among U.S. and Haitian cell-phone companies, the Red Cross, social entrepreneurs, the U.S. Coast Guard, and, eventually, the U.S. Marines to create a platform that used text messaging to broadcast the locations of earthquake victims in need of rescue. The State Department also launched a program to facilitate the texting of $10 donations to the Red Cross for Haiti, which drew contributions from 31 million Americans. At the State Department and USAID, we continue to develop new ways to use the world’s 4.6 billion cell phones to improve the lives of people living in remote areas and arduous circumstances.

More profit, more and more and more, for her Irish friend who supplies the cell phones. A very grateful friend.

The article goes on (and on), but what we have quoted is all that’s needed to show what it’s about: a justification of the sort of deals described in the film. It is a long ponderous self-vaunting screed intended to make Hillary Rodham Clinton’s personal corruption look like a marvelous new way of using American power to benefit the world in a charming spirit of co-operation with ordinary people. All and only for the benefit of the people. So much nicer than an America that presides over a world order maintained by the fact of  its military might!

But what it actually displays is the deception, the venality, the corruption, the hypocrisy of the Obama administration, of Hillary Rodham Clinton personally, and of the Left in general.

Posted under Africa, corruption, Diplomacy, Haiti, Leftism, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, July 28, 2016

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The new Republicanism 0

It is more than likely now that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee in the presidential election this November.

It is therefore very likely that the Republican platform will be what he wants it to be. And many Republicans, especially the go-along-to-get-along pillars of the Grand Old Party, most prominently its leaders in Congress, do not like what he wants. They repudiate him and his ideas. They say he is unfaithful to conservative principles and will alter long-standing Republican policies. But if their choice is between changing principles and policies to those of Trump or breaking the Party asunder by thwarting the will of the millions of voters he attracts, they will accept – are slowly coming round to  accepting – Trump and his vision for America. (While probably still planning to knock it into a more familiar and acceptable shape.)

What do his conservative Republican critics object to in particular?

In an article hostile to Donald Trump, but accepting that he is almost certain to be the Republican nominee, Linda Chavez writes at Townhall:

Trump represents a repudiation of the Republican Party’s commitment to smaller government, free trade and an internationalist foreign policy.

Let’s consider these commitments one by one, and assess how far Trump is likely to change them, and how bad the change would be.

Smaller government is certainly a cherished principle of conservative Republicanism. We list it among our core conservative ideals, along with individual freedom, a market economy, and strong defense. Regretfully we admit that government is not likely ever again to be actually small, but does Trump not say anything that suggests he would reduce the hugely overblown bureaucracy oppressing Americans now? He does. He says he will lower taxes. Lower taxes must mean some shrinking of government. And that’s probably the most any conservative Republican could do.

It’s on free trade that we have a difference of opinion with Trump. He has indicated that he would match tariff barriers with tariff barriers. We think that’s counter-productive. But it’s not enough to induce us to call Trump a wrecker of American prosperity. In fact, most of his economic thinking is likely to increase American prosperity very considerably. He would stop foreign aid unless America got something back for it. He would make those countries that want American military protection contribute to the cost of it. And he has plans for job creation which we’re inclined to trust because, as an extremely successful businessman, he has done it.

As for the Republican “internationalist foreign policy” – we’re coming to that.

Here are some points from Charles Krauthammer’s syndicated column on Trump’s recent foreign policy speech. Much as we respect Charles Krauthammer, on this rare occasion we disagree with him.

On the Republican side … foreign policy has been the subject of furious debate. To which Donald Trump has contributed significantly, much of it off-the-cuff, contradictory and confused. Hence his foreign policy speech on Wednesday. It was meant to make him appear consistent, serious and presidential. …

Its major theme, announced right at the top [was]: America First. Classically populist and invariably popular, it is nonetheless quite fraught. On the one hand, it can be meaningless — isn’t every president trying to advance American interests? …

On the other hand, America First does have a history. In 1940, when Britain was fighting for its life and Churchill was begging for U.S. help, it was the name of the group most virulently opposed to U.S. intervention. It disbanded — totally discredited — four days after Pearl Harbor. …

The irony is … it is the underlying theme of [Obama’s] foreign policy — which Trump constantly denounces as a series of disasters. Obama, like Trump, is animated by the view that we are overextended and overinvested abroad. …

Both the left and right have a long history of advocating American retreat and retrenchment. The difference is that liberals want to come home because they think we are not good enough for the world. Conservatives want to wash their hands of the world because they think the world is not good enough for us.

That’s nicely put! Our disagreements will come below.

For Obama, we are morally unworthy to act as world hegemon. Our hands are not clean. He’s gone abroad confessing our various sins — everything from the Iranian coup of 1953 to our unkind treatment of Castro’s Cuba to the ultimate blot, Hiroshima, a penitential visit to which Obama is currently considering.

Trump would be rightly appalled by such a self-indicting trip. His foreign policy stems from a proud nationalism that believes that these recalcitrant tribes and nations are unworthy of American expenditures of blood and treasure.

At least Krauthammer calls it “a proud nationalism”. Linda Chavez, in her article, likens Trump’s nationalism to disreputable [?] European nationalist groups which are better described as tribal. She seems to forget that the United States has for centuries been a melting-pot, and the American nation has been – until very recently under Obama – the least tribal in the world. And Trump’s “nationalism” is better described as patriotism. That’s what an American’s “proud nationalism” really is.

This has been the underlying view of conservative isolationism … It is not without its attractions. Trump’s version, however, is inconsistent and often contradictory. After all, he pledged to bring stability to the Middle East. How do you do that without presence, risk and expenditures (financial and military)? He attacked Obama for letting Iran become a “great power.” But doesn’t resisting that automatically imply engagement?

More incoherent still is Trump’s insistence on being unpredictable. An asset perhaps in real estate deals, but in a Hobbesian world American allies rely on American consistency, often as a matter of life or death. Yet Trump excoriated the Obama-Clinton foreign policy for losing the trust of our allies precisely because of its capriciousness. The tilt toward Iran. The red line in Syria. Canceling the Eastern European missile defense. Abandoning Hosni Mubarak.

Trump’s scripted, telepromptered speech was intended to finally clarify his foreign policy. It produced instead a jumble. The basic principle seems to be this: Continue the inexorable Obama-Clinton retreat, though for reasons of national self-interest, rather than of national self-doubt. And except when, with studied inconsistency, he decides otherwise.

Is Trump’s patriotism a “version of isolationism”?  Is it “inconsistent and often contradictory”? By “unpredictable” did he mean what Krauthammer is taking his words to mean?

What did Trump actually say?

We quote his speech in part (find all of it here):

America first will be the major and overriding theme of my administration. But to chart our path forward, we must first briefly take a look back. We have a lot to be proud of.

In the 1940s we saved the world. The greatest generation beat back the Nazis and Japanese imperialists. Then we saved the world again. This time, from totalitarianism and communism. The Cold War lasted for decades but, guess what, we won and we won big. …

Does he regret those American involvements? Not at all. He is proud of them.

Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. In fact, as time went on, our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. … We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper. Very bad. It all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy.

With that we could not agree more strongly. It is not possible to turn states like Iraq and Afghanistan – Arab states, Islamic states – into Western style democracies.

And as for his comment on Obama’s actions – they have been “unpredictable” in that they make no logical sense. Krauthammer chooses them as examples of unpredictability to condemn Trump’s recommendation of it, when in fact Trump means something entirely different – as we shall see.

We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans and just killed be lives, lives, lives wasted. Horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment.

They have benefited so much, so sadly, for us. Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision. No purpose. No direction. No strategy.

Trump goes on to “identify weaknesses in our foreign policy” and to say how he would fix them. Among them (they are worth reading in full) is this:

We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies, something that we’ve never seen before in the history of our country. He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, cannot be allowed. Remember that, cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. And under a Trump administration, will never, ever be allowed to have that nuclear weapon …

At the end of his analysis and outline of his intentions he promises:

 This will all change when I become president.

To our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again. America is going to be reliable again. It’s going to be a great and reliable ally again. It’s going to be a friend again. We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests and the shared interests of our allies.

Does that sound isolationist?

We need a long-term plan to halt the spread and reach of radical Islam.Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed the world. Events may require the use of military force, but it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.

Absolutely right! And no other politician, as far as we can recall, has said it before.

He goes on to speak of “working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world”, which is one of the few points on which we disagree. There can be no such thing as an American ally in the Muslim world, precisely because “the philosophical struggle” prohibits it. Islam is ideologically opposed to the West.

… And then there’s ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. We must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now. But they’re going to be gone. ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president. And they’ll be gone quickly. They will be gone very, very quickly.

So that is what Trump means by “unpredicatble”. A commander-in-chief does not announce to his country’s enemy just when its army will stop fighting and when he will withdraw his troops – as Obama has done. It is a military absurdity!

He goes on to say “we have to rebuild our military and our economy”.

The Russians and Chinese have rapidly expanded their military capability, but look at what’s happened to us. Our nuclear weapons arsenal, our ultimate deterrent, has been allowed to atrophy and is desperately in need of modernization and renewal. And it has to happen immediately. Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from 2 million in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. The Navy has shrunk from over 500 ships to 272 ships during this same period of time. The Air Force is about one-third smaller than 1991. Pilots flying B-52s in combat missions today. These planes are older than virtually everybody in this room.

And what are we doing about this? President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that in real dollars, cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted and we’re asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.

We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.

Does that sound “isolationist”?

But we will look for savings and spend our money wisely. In this time of mounting debt, right now we have so much debt that nobody even knows how to address the problem. But I do. No one dollar can be wasted. Not one single dollar can we waste. We’re also going to have to change our trade, immigration and economic policies to make our economy strong again. And to put Americans first again.

But, he says …

I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only is possible, absolutely possible. Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries.

Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a deal under my administration, a deal that’s great — not good, great — for America, but also good for Russia, then we will quickly walk from the table. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find out.

Fixing our relations with China is another important step — and really toward creating an even more prosperous period of time. China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically, which they are doing like never before, we have lost all of their respect.

We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit that we have to find a way quickly, and I mean quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China, better than we have right now. Look at what China is doing in the South China Sea. They’re not supposed to be doing it. …

To be militarily strong again, and at the same time try to negotiate better relations with an aggressive Russia and China – is that “contradictory” or is it speaking softly while carrying a big stick? 

I will not hesitate to deploy military force when there is no alternative. But if America fights, it must only fight to win. …

Our power will be used if others do not play by the rules. In other words, if they do not treat us fairly. Our friends and enemies must know that if I draw a line in the sand, I will enforce that line in the sand. Believe me.

My goal is to establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations. That’s why I also look and have to look for talented experts with approaches and practical ideas … We have to look to new people because many of the old people frankly don’t know what they’re doing

No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and our enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must start doing the same. We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony.  I am skeptical of international unions  … And under my administration, we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs. …

I will view as president the world through the clear lens of American interests. I will be America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion. …

The world is most peaceful and most prosperous when America is strongest. America will continue and continue forever to play the role of peacemaker. We will always help save lives and indeed humanity itself, but to play the role, we must make America strong again. … We have to and we will make America great again.

Where are the alleged “inconsistencies”? Where is the “jumble”. (We urge doubters to read the whole speech and tell us if they find any inconsistencies or contradictions that we have overlooked.)

The speech as a whole could be taken as a manifesto of the new Republicanism – what the Republican Party will stand for under the leadership of Donald Trump. He will take the Party forward, but not in the direction it has long wanted to go. It wanted to go, but did not move. He will make both good and bad decisions, as leaders generally do. But he will make them in the interests of a strong and prosperous America, and that is an America that is good for the world.

The end of national sovereignty 5

The EU – the European Union – is not a democracy. It has a parliament, and people are elected to it by the citizens of the member states, but it has no real power of decision. Members of the European Parliament talk there. Nobody listens. Not even their fellow MEPs.

Unelected bureaucrats decide what the 503 million people of Europe may do, eat, use, buy, sell, and say, and not do, eat, use, buy, sell, and say. In finicky detail. (See for example here and here.)

The bureaucrats compose the Commission. The president of the Commission is appointed by the Council and he appoints the other 27 members.

The Council is composed of the heads of the governments of the member states and the President of the Commission whom they have appointed.

The EU Commission – 28 unelected officials – exercises dictatorial power, and has dictated that Europe shall be terminated; and that slowly – over about three more generations – the continent will become part of the Ummah, the world unity of Muslims, governed by Sharia, Islam’s legal system inseparable from the religion. To this end, the EU is importing millions of Muslims (often under the courtesy name of “refugees”), who will have large families as multiple wives each bear many children.

The Commission’s writ does not officially run in Western countries outside the EU; but this momentous decision, a turning point in the history of mankind, is apparently approved of and being emulated by the political leadership of most Western states, notably Canada, Australia, and even the United States of America.

Or is there a conspiracy among all Western leaders to Islamize their world?

The Big Question is WHY? 

John Griffing writes at American Thinker:

Europe is on fire, in a social and financial crisis of its leaders’ own making. Its public places are now spectacles of the obscene, and its women are sexual objects for a predatory race of invaders. Its social systems are stretched to the breaking point by belligerent “refugees” who are devouring their host countries at will, while Europe’s leaders defend the invaders and blame their own citizens.

Western civilization is under attack, and rational citizens are at a loss to understand why their leaders are allowing the destruction of their societies.

Much has been written about the outrageous acts that have been committed by Muslim migrants, so we need not repeat them here. We can simply agree that the situation in Europe is disastrous, and it’s getting worse. And America is not far behind.

Western leaders are aiding and abetting this insanity with a consistency and single-mindedness of purpose that can only be explained in one way: they must think they have something to gain from the chaos created by this crisis.

What other conclusion can be drawn from the brazen ascendancy of Islam in the western world, and the deafening silence that permits its success?  Clearly, Western leaders think they can use Islam for their own ends, to consolidate their own power.

Whether their motivations are globalist, nationalist, pro-Islam, or merely megalomaniacal, they all seem to hold one belief in common: the belief that they can control Muslim migration to create the chaos necessary to justify their predetermined solutions. …

But they are dangerously underestimating those they presume to use as pawns. …

Islam is now controlling most of Europe, either actively, or passively, due to the absence of any response from local governing authorities – a curious void of law and order. …

Unless Europeans and Americans rise up now to reverse this trend, one of two things will occur. Either those in power will succeed in using this crisis to advance their aims and fundamentally transform their societies, or, more likely, Islam will become dominant in the West past the point of no return.

If those two occurrences are distinguishable from each other.

“The Moors” have come home. The Muslim horde hastily imported into Europe over the cries and screams of voters are living up to the archetypes people in the West have come to fear, especially when cartoons result in lynch-mobs, and when a woman clothed according to western custom is mercilessly raped by “migrants”. …

A majority of Muslims living in Britain say they want full Sharia law, a separate Muslim police force, and death for anyone who speaks against Mohammed.  The same survey revealed a majority percentage also favor terrorist attacks against Britain and the United States.  51 percent of American Muslims also say they want Shariah and the US government to become Islamic.

The Netherlands openly advocates placing Shariah – the desert law which commands death for adulterers, death for gambling, death for leaving the faith (or having no faith), and death for homosexuals – on the ballot.

German courts are already enforcing Shariah when requested, and the impetus for this golden nugget originated in Nuremburg.

France has over 751 “no-go zones”, i.e. areas of land ruled by Islamic law and totally unrecognizable as French.

And where French law is not enforced, the police being afraid to enter them.

This was verified again after the recent French attacks.

The British already have actual Shariah courts in operation all over the United Kingdom.  These “courts” are chaired by a man who thinks amputation for petty crimes is a great idea, something he wants to “offer British society”.

Americans and Europeans need to stop acting surprised when Muslims behave like Muslims.  They are acting according to what the Qur’an says to do. It’s there in plain sight for anyone to read. And its ultimate aim is conquest and complete domination of any other culture but Islam. …

Not only is history repeating, but it is repeating on a crash timetable, and with the perverse backing of the host countries destined to be remade in the image of Islamic hegemony.

Why would any true German, Frenchman or Briton cooperate in their own organized destruction if there were not some goal or elusive purpose to be accomplished by the ever less accountable and more distant governments that make such decisions?

It would only be logical to deduce that French leaders, German leaders and British leaders have determined that there is an acceptable cost to property and lives if the chaos resulting from the indiscriminate welcoming of new migrant hoards can be directed towards an unspoken goal.  This is not out of left field.  Angela Merkel calling her own people “neo-Nazis” and turning water cannons on her own citizens is indicative.

Amazingly, this mindset is evident in every recent action to open the borders of Europe and America to their new visitors.

Controlled chaos is the desired result.

We underestimate the depravity of Western leaders if we think the lives of American and European citizens mean anything more to them than plot points in a narrative, one leading inevitably to the end of national sovereignty.

There’s chaos all right, but where’s the control?

What is that “goal or elusive purpose to be accomplished by the ever less accountable governments”? 

Is it something beyond the destruction of their own nations? Of their continent? Of Western civilization?

Is it some earthly paradise that can only arise out of submission to Islam and Sharia law?

A vision that they alone – the political deciders and dictators who will  not explain their plan – can see?

Is that hellish path the only way to it?

If so, it would be good to be told what it is, and how it will come about, and when.

Or else there is no answer at all to WHY.   

Political gestures 1

A social worker named Wendy Sherman was employed by President Clinton to negotiate the 1999 non-proliferation nuclear arms deal between the US and the hereditary dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-il.

The Obama administration was so pleased with her achievement that they got her to negotiate a similar deal between the US and Iran in 2015.

Neither the Iranian rulers nor the present North Korean hereditary dictator Kim Jong-un have any intention of abiding by the terms of their respective “deals”.

CNN reports:

North Korea has successfully launched a satellite into space, its state-run TV said …

Carrier rocket Kwangmyongsong blasted off from the Sohae Space Center at 9 a.m Sunday local time …

U.S. officials have said the same type of rocket used to launch today’s satellite could deliver a nuclear warhead. …

According to multiple experts, North Korea has at least a dozen and perhaps as many as 100 nuclear weapons, though at present it lacks sophisticated delivery mechanisms.

Or did, until now.

The Daily Beast reports:

Nuclear nonproliferation experts agree: Obama, they claim, is responsible for the failure of America to prevent North Korea from expanding its nuclear program. …

The Obama administration concept of ‘strategic patience’ emerged early on in the administration after the scathing experience of North Korea’s 2009 nuclear test. The strategy essentially demanded that North Koreans recommit to concrete steps towards denuclearization — such as allowing inspectors and freezing fissile material production — as a precondition of any future talks. …

It is a strategy that has proven to be a failure, given the most recent nuclear test. North Korea has simply accepted sanctions and international isolation as the cost of a slow and steady expansion of its nuclear weapons program. …

By demanding that North Koreans take denuclearization steps before talks that would focus on denuclearization, it put the onus for talks on the authoritarian state, thereby buying them time to creep towards strengthening its nuclear arsenal.

“Given that North Korea equates its nuclear weapons with the survivability of its regime, it is extremely unlikely that Pyongyang will take steps toward denuclearization absent assurances of the state’s security,” said Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. “The overthrow of Qadhafi, several years after Libya gave up its nuclear program, likely increased North Korea’s concerns that absent a nuclear deterrent, its regime would be at risk.”  …

So when presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio says that “North Korea is run by a lunatic who has been expanding his nuclear arsenal while President Obama stood idly by”, and Jeb Bush blamed the “Obama Clinton foreign policy”, they’re on the mark.

One thing is for sure: North Korea’s nuclear program has dramatically expanded over the past decade — during the course of the Obama administration — and the threat is now greater than it has ever been.

Well meaning, good-doing ladies like Wendy Sherman are indispensable to modern politics, especially to a sentimental foreign policy.

They are Mistresses of the Empty Gesture.

The mysteries of Benghazi 1

Among the many still unanswered question about the tragedy of Benghazi, these stand out above all others:

Why were “more than 600” requests from Ambassador Stevens for better security for the US mission in Benghazi not granted?

Whether or not they “reached” Hillary Clinton’s desk – and she denies that any of them did – the question why better security was not granted has never been answered.

What could the reason be?

And why was Ambassador Stephens then sent to the insecure mission in Benghazi on the specially dangerous anniversary day of 9/11/12?

On the face of it, it looks as if the State Department was party to a planned assassination of its own ambassador.

But why would it want that?

Al-Qaeda’s hackers of Hillary Clinton’s easily-hacked emails would have known what Hillary Clinton’s game in Benghazi was. But the American people she was paid to serve do not.

Everyone outside of the Obama conspiracy can only conjecture.

So possible answers to the questions are invited.

A hell-hag as leader and role model? 2

hillary_clinton_6

Who is the woman whom millions of Americans would vote for to become the first woman president of the United States? What sort of woman is she? What has she done? What does she stand for? What sort of model would she be for rising generations of Americans?

Is she a person of model character? No. She is an habitual liar (see here and here), a conniver and plotter; arrogant, corrupt, and vicious and cruel.

Is she a person who has achieved great things? No. Her only achievements have been catastrophes, bringing incalculable suffering upon millions of people who live their precarious lives in frail societies, most notably in Libya, where she brought unending chaos; in Nigeria, where she actively encouraged Boko Haram, the butchers of untold numbers of defenseless Christians; in Egypt, where she did all she could (but fortunately failed) to keep the tyrannical Muslim Brotherhood in power; in Iran, where she has helped Obama strengthen the oppressive dictatorship of the Ayatollahs.

Is she a woman of ideas? Does she at least associate herself with a political philosophy that promotes freedom, openness, tolerance? No. She has not articulated a single original political idea. And far from promoting freedom, openness and tolerance, she has actively worked with Islamic enemies of America to shut down free speech.

Is she clever? No. Cunning, yes, she is. But she lives in a sort of mental glass house in which she is forever throwing stones. Apparently oblivious to the facts of her own life, she denounces the very people and activities that support her political existence. It is a kind of blind, blundering stupidity.

Or call it “cognitive dissonance”. Examples of it are given by Victor Davis Hanson, who writes at Townhall:

Hillary Clinton recently said she would go after offshore tax “schemes” in the Caribbean. …

Yet her husband, Bill Clinton, reportedly made $10 million as an advisor and an occasional partner in the Yucaipa Global Partnership, a fund registered in the Cayman Islands.

Is Ms. Clinton’s implicit argument that she knows offshore tax dodging is unethical because her family has benefitted from it? Does she plan to return millions of dollars of her family’s offshore-generated income?

Clinton is calling for “huge campaign finance reform,” apparently to end the excessive and often pernicious role of big money in politics. But no candidate, Republican or Democrat, raised more than the $112 million that Clinton collected in 2015 for her primary campaign.

In 2013, Clinton earned nearly $1.6 million in speaking fees from Wall Street banks. She raked in $675,000 from Goldman Sachs, and $225,000 apiece from Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and UBS Wealth Management. Did that profiteering finally make Clinton sour on Wall Street’s pay-for-play ethics?

Clinton has also vowed to raise taxes on hedge fund managers. Is that a way of expressing displeasure with her son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky, who operates a $400 million hedge fund?

For that matter, how did Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea – who worked for a consulting firm and a hedge fund despite having no background in finance – reportedly become worth an estimated $15 million?

Hillary Clinton recently proposed a new $350 billion government plan to make college more affordable. Certainly, universities spike tuition costs, and student-loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. Colleges spend money indiscriminately, mostly because they know that the federal government will always back student loans.

Yet, since she left office, Clinton routinely has charged universities $200,000 or more for her brief 30-minute chats. Her half-hour fee is roughly equal to the annual public-university tuition cost for eight students.

It’s been said that Clinton is trying to rekindle President Obama’s 2012 allegations of a Republican “war on women”. That charge and the war against the “1 percent” helped deliver key states to Obama. Renewing that theme, Clinton recently declared on Twitter, “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”

Does Clinton’s spirited advocacy of “every” survivor include the array of women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct? In other words, does Hillary now trust the testimonies of survivors such as Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, whose allegations must be “believed and supported”?

Ms. Clinton has also called for more financial transparency and greater accountability in general – something needed after scandals at government agencies such as the IRS, VA and GSA. But Clinton’s use of a private email server probably violated several federal laws. Her laxity with confidential communications was arguably more egregious than that of Gen. David Petraeus, a national icon who pleaded guilty to mishandling classified materials.

Perhaps Clinton assumes that the electorate is still in the ethical world of the 1990s. Back then, it was somewhat easier to dampen scandals – at least the ones that didn’t involve sex in the White House. But in the age of social media, 24-hour cable TV, instantaneous blogging and a different public attitude toward political corruption and sexual assault, Hillary Clinton now appears to be caught in the wrong century.

Womanizing and sexual coercion can no longer be so easily dismissed. The financial antics of the Clinton Foundation don’t past muster

Ms. Clinton at times tries to offset scandals by pointing to her record as secretary of state. But few believe that her handling of Russia, Iran, China, Benghazi or Islamic terrorism made the world calmer or America more secure.

There is a brazenness, an audacity, a shameless impudence in her hypocrisy that has no match even among politicians. In this, one would have to look back to medieval Popes to find her equal. 

Yet there are tens of millions of voters who would put enormous power into her hands. For no better reason than that she is a woman. Such people deserve their doom, of course. But what of the rest?

America must not fall into the talons of this hell-hag!

Posted under China, corruption, Diplomacy, Egypt, Ethics, government, Iran, Islam, jihad, Leftism, Libya, middle east, Muslims, Nigeria, Russia, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 21, 2016

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Hillary Clinton: ready for the big house? 4

Hillary Clinton’s emails reveal more and more, and worse and worse, about her disregard for the security of the nation she was supposed to be serving.

From GOPUSA, by Guy Benson:

If this early January development was a bombshell, today’s revelation is a nuclear bombshell. Hillary Clinton’s improper, unsecure email server appears to have endangered national security even more than previously thought – and her excuses continue to melt away under intensifying scrutiny. [These are the] extremely serious findings from the intelligence community’s Inspector General … :

Hillary Clinton’s emails on her unsecured, homebrew server contained intelligence from the U.S. government’s most secretive and highly classified programs, according to an unclassified letter from a top inspector general to senior lawmakers. Fox News exclusively obtained the text of the unclassified letter, sent Jan. 14 from Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III. It laid out the findings of a recent comprehensive review by intelligence agencies that identified “several dozen” additional classified emails — including specific intelligence known as “special access programs” (SAP). …

Intelligence from a “special access program,” or SAP, is even more sensitive than that designated as “top secret” – as were two emails identified last summer in a random sample pulled from Clinton’s private server she used as secretary of state. Access to a SAP is restricted to those with a “need-to-know” because exposure of the intelligence would likely reveal the source, putting a method of intelligence collection – or a human asset – at risk.

Currently, some 1,340 emails designated “classified” have been found on Clinton’s server, though the Democratic presidential candidate insists the information was not classified at the time. “There is absolutely no way that one could not recognize SAP material,” a former senior law enforcement with decades of experience investigating violations of SAP procedures told Fox News. “It is the most sensitive of the sensitive.”

Hillary’s campaign unsuccessfully attempted to dispute the IG’s previous determination that her woefully under-secure bootleg server contained intelligence deemed “top secret”; this is even worse.  Her already-dubious and legally-irrelevant “marked classified” excuse suffers another crushing blow. More:

The [SAP] programs are created when “the vulnerability of, or threat to, specific information is exceptional,” and “the number of persons who ordinarily will have access will be reasonably small and commensurate with the objective of providing enhanced protection for the information involved,” it states. According to court documents, former CIA Director David Petraeus was prosecuted for sharing intelligence from special access programs with his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. At the heart of his prosecution was a non-disclosure agreement where Petraeus agreed to protect these closely held government programs, with the understanding “unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention or negligent handling … could cause irreparable injury to the United States or be used to advantage by a foreign nation.” Clinton signed an identical non-disclosure agreement Jan. 22, 2009.

She sure did.

And it includes this line:

As used in the Agreement [which she signed], classified information is marked or unmarked classified information. 

No wonder officials inside the FBI are reportedly champing at the bit for an indictment.  Her conduct makes Petraeus’ criminal but limited indiscretions look like child’s play. In case you’d forgotten, Mrs. Clinton insisted last year that no classified material whatsoever had passed through her private server.  That lie, one of several, has now been disproven more than 1,300 times, and today’s news marks another devastating disclosure.  America’s top diplomat trafficked in the most sensitive US intelligence secrets that exist via her private server, which she’d been explicitly and urgently warned was uniquely vulnerable to foreign penetration.  This isn’t about breaking some arcane rules or fudging some statements to deflect a political headache.  This is about high-level state secrets being willfully and recklessly compromised by a powerful cabinet secretary in a hair-brained scheme to protect her political ambitions.  And yes, it was willful.  Her inner circle knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that her email arrangement was a serious problem.

As Americans wonder whether the politicized Obama Justice Department will move forward with charges against Mrs. Clinton, one wonders whether she may come to regret uttering these words:

There should be … no individual too big to jail.

They were uttered by her in the last debate among Democratic candidates for the presidency.

One of the slogans of her campaign is: “Ready for Hillary?”

Hillary herself believes she has been ready for the White House ever since she lived in it as First Lady, and perhaps since long before that.

But it is another big house she would be advised to get ready for now. The jailhouse.

Posted under Diplomacy, Ethics, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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The weakening of America 1

Something fishy in the Arabian Gulf:

There is something fishy about how such a high-tech U.S. craft can “stray accidentally into Iranian waters due to a navigation error”, as Defense Secretary Ash Carter described it on Thursday to Univision. The Pentagon had previously claimed engine trouble for an incident that’s humiliated the U.S., as Iranian video showed to the world 10 American sailors on their knees at gunpoint.

iran-EDIT1-011316_345.jpg

From Investor’s Business Daily:

How can an advanced, ultra-agile U.S. combat boat suffer a “navigation error” that leads to a terrorist state capturing its sailors? Tehran just revealed military ineptitude warranting a congressional probe.

The Swedish-designed Combat Boat 90 can make the sharpest of turns at high speed, stop nearly on a dime, maneuver like magic and, with its Rolls-Royce jet-propulsion system, can speed along at over 45 miles an hour in rivers and shallow coastlines while transporting 18 amphibious troops.

But what good is any of that if it falls into enemy hands? …

A retired operations commander for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, Christopher Harmer, told CNN the capture constituted “a severe failure”,  charging that “either the naval leadership put these sailors in an impossible situation, or the sailors are professionally incompetent”. Harmer has researched the increased lethality of Iran’s submarine fleet for the Institute for the Study of War.

That one of the sailors would appear in an Iranian video apologizing may have actually violated the military’s Code of Conduct, which requires that a detainee give name, rank, serial number and age, but “evade answering further questions” and “make no oral or written statements disloyal” to his country “and its allies or harmful to their cause”.

Harmer told the Washington Times, “The U.S. Navy looks extraordinarily incompetent. … In its ability to transit boats without violating Iranian waters, they look incompetent to know how to deal with a mechanical malfunction, and now that they’ve been taken into custody, they’re apologizing.”

Harmer told CNN there was “no reason for a small vessel to be out that far and especially without escorting ships around it”, and “the Navy has to explain why you have small ships transiting 300 miles of open ocean”.

Iran claims its Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the CB90’s GPS gear and that it revealed U.S. espionage. As reported in Defense News, House Armed Services Committee member Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a Marine who served in the Iraq War, claimed there was no way the Iran military “didn’t reverse engineer, or look at and copy everything that they possibly could” of the two commandeered boats’ high-tech equipment.

In the midst of this disaster did Secretary of State John Kerry make another bad deal with Tehran, following last year’s nuclear pact, to get the sailors released swiftly?

All of this warrants a high-profile congressional investigation. Sailors and valuable equipment get captured, are humiliated on video, and finally one ends up making a statement that serves terrorist propaganda purposes.

“Semper Fortis” — always strong [an unofficial motto of the US Navy] — hardly describes what this incident reveals about the U.S. Navy after seven years of Barack Obama.

When the captured crews were released the next morning, the two boats sailed away with no sign of  “mechanical failure”. Had both boats been afflicted with it? Had it been hard or easy to repair? Who repaired it?

Here is more editorial comment from IBD:

Ten U.S. sailors kneel at gunpoint before Iran’s military, then actually apologize, and while held captive, merit no mention in the president’s speech to Congress. It’s American weakness illustrated.

We don’t yet have the full facts on how a U.S. naval vessel was allowed to be seized by the world’s foremost terrorist state. But as Desert Storm infantry commander Gen. Barry McCaffrey (ret.) warned in an NBC News interview, “this is an affront to our military presence in the Gulf and will unsettle our allies in the region.” …

Images can hurt a global power profoundly. … For Iran, images of U.S. sailors kneeling in submission, and video of one apologizing on behalf of the rest — and, by extension, on behalf of the U.S. — are priceless.

“It was our fault,” the sailor said on camera. “And we apologize for our mistake.”

What a comparison with the tortured crew of the U.S.S. Pueblo, captured by North Korea in 1968, who during their captivity discreetly extended their middle fingers when posing for propaganda photos.

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry says, “I want to express my gratitude to Iranian authorities. …”

Gratitude!

As Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said, “Before we thank the Iranian naval forces and attempt to defend and normalize their behavior, as Vice President Biden and Secretaries Kerry and Carter appear inclined to do, we should demand answers” to questions that include:

“Where exactly were the sailors intercepted? Why were they detained instead of being merely escorted into international waters? What was the nature of the technical malfunctions on both vessels? … Was sensitive equipment compromised? (and) Why were the sailors not permitted to contact U.S. higher headquarters in the region for the 16 hours they were detained?”

Cotton also noted that the administration presumes that Iran conducted a rescue mission, “when Iran has characterized the incident as U.S. ships trespassing into its waters and ‘snooping’.”

He added: “Our sailors never should have been detained in the first place, and blithely accepting such action will only embolden the ayatollahs who wish to do harm to Americans and our allies in the Arabian Gulf.”

This humiliation of the U.S. comes less than a week before we lift sanctions unfreezing $150 billion for new terrorist activities, as promised in Obama and Kerry’s Iran nuclear deal — a pact that Tehran has not even been required to sign.

Our sailors were held as Obama stood before Congress on Tuesday night, but they weren’t deemed worthy of mention in the president’s [State of the Union] address.

He could have included among his otherwise untrue boasts one that is outrageously true: that he has achieved something he always said he wanted to achievethe weakening of America.

The American caliph 3

We quote Paul Sperry’s article at Investor’s Business Daily, titled Can America Survive Obama’s Pro-Muslim Bias?:

In a new NPR interview, President Obama complains that “strains in the Republican party suggest that somehow I’m different, I’m Muslim, I’m disloyal to the country, which unfortunately is pretty far out there”.

Is it?

While there’s no evidence to suggest Obama is a practicing Muslim, there is plenty to suggest he is disloyal. He not only shares Muslim hatred for America and Israel, but actually sympathizes with the endless anti-Western grievances lodged by Muslim terrorists.

The reason the president won’t engage this enemy is because he sides with it, not because he can’t see it or understand it. It is not a matter of incompetence. It is a matter of bias.

If this sounds like betrayal, that is because it is.

Here is a bill of indictment:

Count 1:In 1995, in his first memoir, Obama shares the “rage” of his Kenyan Muslim grandfather who he claims was tortured by British colonizers, while exalting his Muslim-convert brother Roy, who swore off “the poisoning influences of European culture,” as “the person who made me proudest of all”.

Count 2:In 2004, in a little-noticed preface to his re-released memoir, the newly elected senator implied that America was punished for past wrongs on 9/11, writing that “history returned with a vengeance” on that terrible day.

Count 3:In 2006, in his second memoir, Obama vowed that he “will stand with” Arab and Pakistani Muslims to protect “their sense of security” should their community be implicated in another terror attack on America.

Count 4:In 2009, Obama in his first foreign speech apologized to world Muslims for the War on Terror, inviting banned Muslim Brotherhood leaders to sit on the front row of his Cairo address, while declaring “Islam is not part of the problem” and demanding that Israel give Palestinians “a state of their own”. 

Count 5:That same year, Obama stopped cold a major investigation of terror-supporting Muslim Brotherhood front groups and mosques following the successful prosecution of Brotherhood charities by U.S. attorneys.

Count 6:Then he ordered the FBI and Homeland Security to delete “jihad” from counterterrorism manuals and fire all trainers who linked terrorism to Islam.

Count 7:Obama vowed to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison and bring 9/11 terrorists to America, where they would enjoy full rights, including habeas corpus, in civilian courts.

Count 8:As Obama kicked off a two-day summit on combating generic “violent extremism”, he argued that Muslim terrorists have “legitimate grievances” that must be addressed.

Count 9:He also asserted that “the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances”, and blamed the rash of global terrorism in part on “a history of colonialism” in the Mideast, Africa and South Asia.

Count 10:At the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama told Christians to get off their “high horse” about Muslim terrorism and “remember the terrible deeds in the name of Christ” committed by Crusaders 1,000 years ago.

Count 11: He credited Muslims with “building the very fabric of our nation” and “the core of our democracy”.

Count 12:The president boycotted January’s world march against terrorism in Paris following the slaughter of anti-Islamist cartoonists by two French Algerians, in a shocking move that would have made Obama’s late hero, Algerian mujahedeen Frantz Fanon, proud.

Count 13:Obama agreed to release five Taliban commanders for a POW who he knew was a deserter and who may turn out to be a traitor.

Count 14: Obama removed sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, despite overwhelming evidence by Israeli and U.S. intelligence showing that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons to wipe our closest and most trusted Mideast ally off the map.

Count 15:Obama broke his promise to 9/11 families to release the 28 pages documenting Saudi Arabian and other foreign Muslim sponsorship of the 9/11 attacks.

Count 16: The president insists on calling ISIS “ISIL” — which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — because it includes “Palestine”, a slap at Israel.

Count 17: Despite his entire security team warning that such Muslim immigrants cannot be screened for terrorist ties and evidence that ISIS has infiltrated their ranks, Obama stubbornly insists on bringing another 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S.

Count 18: In the heat of the San Bernardino attacks, as bodies were being removed from the scene, Obama called a high-level security meeting to keep a lid on the Muslim connection.

Count 19: In his prime-time terrorism speech, the president spent half his time warning Americans not to blame Muslims.

Count 20: Obama insists on emptying Gitmo of terrorist prisoners, even after one of his earlier releases re-emerged as a leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Count 21: The Obama regime has invited members of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front groups to serve in the Homeland Security and State departments, and meet regularly with the attorney general, as well as the president and his security advisors in the White House.

Obama is hellbent on shuttering the detention camp and is queuing up for release another 17 dangerous al-Qaida terrorists, earlier classified as “forever detainees” due to the high threat they pose to America.

Americans should know that if we are attacked again in a major way in his remaining 13 months in office, Obama “will stand with” Muslims over Americans, meaning that he will continue to back off radical mosques, refuse to connect terrorism to Islam and continue to hold open the floodgates to mass Muslim immigration.

This president, who had Pakistani roommates in college, is more concerned about “their sense of security” than non-Muslims threatened by Muslim terrorism like the massacre carried out by the two Pakistani Muslims who attacked San Bernardino.

What if the enemy of the state is actually the head of state?

The bill of indictment, long and bad as it is, is incomplete. It does not, for instance, include Obama’s instruction to NASA to concentrate on reaching out to Muslims rather than to outer space; nor his close friendship with President Erdogan of Turkey; nor his persistent persecution of Israel; nor his long refusal to allow the assassination of Osama bin Laden and his reluctance in finally permitting it; nor – worst of all –  his fanatical wooing of Iran, in the course of which he has given the regime everything it has demanded, and swept away every impediment to its becoming a nuclear armed power.    

Sperry’s list is more than sufficient, however, to make the case. As we have been saying for years: Yes, the enemy of the state is actually the head of state.

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